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Father Superior of local Monastery relives bloody stabbing on Halloween

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On October 31, the Tehama County Sheriff's Office arrested 47-year-old Michail Pijenko for attempted murder in connection with a stabbing at the Monastery of Saint John in Manton.

Deputies were called to the monastery early yesterday morning for an intoxicated man with a knife at the monastery.

Soon after, they got another call from a neighbor saying a monk, later identified as Monk John, had been stabbed, and rushed to their room for help.

When detectives got there, they arrested Pijenko and found a kitchen knife near him. Monk John told deputies he was stabbed twice with a kitchen knife in his own bathroom.

Pijenko was taken into custody and booked into the Tehama County Jail and is now on $500,000 bail.

Father Innocent says Monk John is recovering at a nearby hospital.

We spoke with the Superior of the monastery, Father Innocent, the next day about the ordeal and he said the normally sleepy Monastery was shaken on Halloween morning, but that Monk John is doing well.

"He's in good spirits. He's recovering," said Father Innocent. "And right now, some of the brothers have gone to visit him as we speak."

Father Innocent says the Monastery of Saint John is normally a quiet place of prayer and communal work, following the Orthodox faith.

"We come together every day to pray together in the chapel. And then we have meals together. We have spiritual retreats," said Father Innocent.

But in the early morning hours of October 31st, he says Michail Pijenko got irritated and violent.

After sitting him down to talk, Father Innocent says Pijenko grabbed a paring knife off a table and lunged at him.

"I didn't know what to do, and basically, he became agitated. And I thought he might hurt himself. So, I was like 'okay put that down.' But then he came at me with the knife and started to thrust it at me," said Father Innocent.

Fearing for his life, Father Innocent ran, called 911 and tried to evacuate everyone from the building.

But before authorities could arrive, Pijenko stabbed Monk John of the monastery multiple times. Monk John was able to escape through a window.

"He escaped through a window. Actually, that window over there, and got a key and got in that car right there," said Father Innocent.

Father Innocent says Monk John then drove to a neighbor for help, who tended to him until deputies arrived.

But Father Innocent said Pijenko is no villain. He had stayed with them before last December, admitted to having an alcohol addiction.

"Through his own admission he says he just can't stop drinking," said Father Innocent. "And he had hoped to be here for a while to get away from the temptation. But the temptation...he found it somewhere."

The monastery said they're continuing on with their every day activities and praying for the two men to recover.


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